Routledge Handbook of Public Policy in Africa  book cover
1st Edition

Routledge Handbook of Public Policy in Africa

Edited By

Gedion Onyango

ISBN 9780367516215
Published January 7, 2022 by Routledge
718 Pages 15 B/W Illustrations

FREE Standard Shipping
USD $250.00

Prices & shipping based on shipping country


Book Description

This Handbook provides an authoritative and foundational disciplinary overview of African Public Policy and a comprehensive examination of the practicalities of policy analysis, policymaking processes, implementation, and administration in Africa today.

The book assembles a multidisciplinary team of distinguished and upcoming Africanist scholars, practitioners, researchers and policy experts working inside and outside Africa to analyse the historical and emerging policy issues in 21st-century Africa. While mostly attentive to comparative public policy in Africa, this book attempts to address some of the following pertinent questions:

  • How can public policy be understood and taught in Africa?
  • How does policymaking occur in unstable political contexts, or in states under pressure?
  • Has the democratisation of governing systems improved policy processes in Africa?
  • How have recent transformations, such as technological proliferation in Africa, impacted public policy processes?
  • What are the underlying challenges and potential policy paths for Africa going forward?

The contributions examine an interplay of prevailing institutional, political, structural challenges and opportunities for policy effectiveness to discern striking commonalities and trajectories across different African states.

This is a valuable resource for practitioners, politicians, researchers, university students, and academics interested in studying and understanding how African countries are governed.

Table of Contents


Peter H. Koehn

Notes on Contributors


1. A Public Policy Approach to Governance in Africa: An Introduction

Gedion Onyango

Part I: Research, Theory and Teaching African Public Policy

2. The Social Science Foundations of Public Policy in Africa

Liisa Laakso

3. Researching and Teaching Public Policy and Governance in Africa

Chris Tapscott

4. Theorising Public Policy in Africa

Goran Hyden

5. Public Authority in Africa

Tom Kirk and Tim Allen

6. The Institutional Logics Perspective and Policymaking in Africa

James Hathaway

7. Pockets Of Effectiveness (POE) in Africa: A Solution to the Policy Paradox?

Anne Mette Kjær

Part II: Understanding Policy Framing in Africa

8. Policy Images in Africa

Eric E. Otenyo

9. Reflections on the Political Economy of Public Policy Analysis in Africa

Michael Kpessa-Whyte and Kafui Tsekpo

10. The Role and Impact of International Bureaucrats in Policymaking in Africa

Rosina Foli and Frank L.K. Ohemeng

11. Traditional Chiefs as Institutional Entrepreneurs in Policymaking and Implementation in Africa

Salomey K.G. Afrifa and Frank L.K. Ohemeng

12. Public Participation and Policymaking in Local Governance in Africa

Emmanuel Botlhale

13. Framing Political Policy Communications in Africa

Kobby Mensah, Joyce Manyo and Nnamdi O. Madichie

14. Policy Evaluation in Africa

E. Remi Aiyede and Maryam O. Quadri

Part III: Understanding Policymaking in Africa

15. Public Policymaking in Africa

Lukamba Muhiya Tshombe and Thekiso Molokwane

16. Historical Perspectives of Policymaking and Administration in Africa

Felix Kumah-Abiwu, James Korku Agbodzakey and Samuel Kofi Darkwa

17. The Media and Policymaking in Africa: A Comparative Study of Economic Development Policies in South Africa and Nigeria

Tk Pooe and Sysman Motloung

Part IV: Understanding Policy Reforms in Africa

18. Public-Private Partnership and Public Policy in Africa

Joseph O. Obosi

19. Rationales for and Policy Implications of Implementing Semi‐Autonomous Revenue Authorities in Sub-Saharan Africa

Matilde Jeppesen

20. Evolution and Change of Communication Policy in Postcolonial Africa: From Independence to the Present Day

Osée Kamga

21. Multiculturalism and Policymaking in Africa

John Sunday Ojo and Joanne Clarke

Part V: Understanding Politics and Public Policy in Africa

22. The Politics of Public Policy in Africa

Michael Kpessa-Whyte

23. Political Parties, Political Change and Public Policy in Africa: A Comparative Study of Kenya, Tanzania and Ghana

Adams Oloo

24. Political Transition, Policy Change and Implementation in Zambia

Musole Siachisa

25. Executive Policymaking During National Crisis: Policy Responses to Covid-19 Pandemic in Uganda

Roberts Kabeba Muriisa

26. Political Leadership and Public Policy in Africa: Thabo Mbeki, the Consummate Policy Entrepreneur

Ndangwa Noyoo

27. Public Policy and Election Administration in Africa: A Controlling or Innovative Environment

Michael Amoah

Part VI: Policy Implementation Outcomes in Africa: Country Studies

28. Democratizing Policy Implementation in Africa: Lessons from Ghana’s National Health Insurance Scheme

Emmanuel Kofi Ayisi, Justice Nyigmah Bawole and Emmanuel Yeboah-Assiamah

29. Competing Interests and Lack of Policy Ownership of the Reform Agenda: A Barrier to Uganda’s Reform Success

William Muhumuza

30. Public Policy in Cameroon: State-Building Programs under the Influence

Alphonse Bernard Amougou Mbarga

31. The Politics of Decentralisation: Policy Reform Design and Implementation in Malawi

Asiyati Lorraine Chiweza

32. Indigenization Policy in the Extractive Sector in Zimbabwe: A Critical Reflection

Kennedy Manduna and Davison Muchadenyika

33. Policy Learning and Policy Failure in Africa: The Case of Electricity Privatization in Ghana

Frank L.K. Ohemeng and Joshua J. Zaato

Part VII: Implementing Education Policies in Africa

34. Investing in the People? Analysis of Education Policies in Angola

Francisco Miguel Paulo

35. Public-Private Partnerships as Predictors of Success: Lessons from the Education Sector in Post-War Liberia

Samuel G. Toe

36. Policy Issues in the Harmonisation of Quality Assurance Systems for Higher Education in Africa

Ngepathimo Kadhila and Eugene Lizazi Libebe

Part VIII: Understanding Health Policies and Disease Control in Africa

37. Control Programmes for Africa's Parasites: Unrealistic Expectations, Ignored Evidence, and Troubling Outcomes

Tim Allen and Melissa Parker

38. Between Marketization and Public Interest Discourses in Health Policy Delivery: Debating Solidarity and Universal Health Care in South Africa

Lauren Ela Paremoer

39. Policy Responses to Ebola Virus Disease in West Africa: Experiences from Sierra Leone

Lawrence Sao Babawo, Ahmed Vandi and Tommy M. Hanson

40. Confronting Epidemics: The Art of not Knowing and Strategic Ignorance During Ebola Preparedness in Uganda

Grace Akello and Melissa Parker

Part IX: Understanding Food Security And Social Protection Policies

41. Food and Nutrition Security Policies in Africa

Anne Siebert and Julian May

42. Public Policy and Social Protection in Africa: The Rise of Cash Transfers

Nathanael Ojong and Logan Cochrane

43. A Genealogy of Policies on Poor and Vulnerable Children and Youth in Kenya

Elizabeth Ngutuku

Part X: Understanding Women, Gender and Public Policy in Africa

44. Women in Policymaking in Africa

Emmanuel Botlhale

45. Gender Mainstreaming in Africa: Local Translations and Institutional Challenges in Ghana, Malawi and South Africa

Diana Højlund Madsen, Amanda Gouws and Asiyati Lorraine Chiweza

46. Women and Social Policies in South Africa and Sierra Leone

Ina Conradie and Abioseh Bockarie

47. Women Legislators in Legislative Policymaking in Africa

Chiedo Nwankwor and Adedeji Adebayo

Part XI: Understanding Crisis Management, Migration and Regional Trade

48. Public Policy and Disaster Management: The Role of Law in International Disaster Assistance in Africa

María Mercedes Martínez Carrizo

49. Migration Frameworks in Africa: Nature, Dynamics, and Challenges

Alemu Asfaw Nigusie

50. Evolution of Trade Policy and Regional Integration in Africa

Stephen R. Karangizi and Haruperi R. Mumbengegwi

Part XII: Understanding Emerging Policy Issues And Challenges In Africa

51. Open Innovation Systems and Public Policy in Africa: Setting New Boundaries Against Wicked Problems

Yeboah-Assiamah Emmanuel, Clement Mensah Damoah and Justice Nyigmah Bawole

52. Africa’s New Megacities: Sustainable Urbanism, Climate Urbanism or Megalopolises of Exclusionary Enclaves

John Sunday Ojo

53. Environmental Policies in Africa: The State of Regulating E-Waste Management

Japheth Otieno Ondiek and Gedion Onyango

54. Petroleum Extraction in Africa: A Review of the Local Content Policies for the Oil Industry in Selected Countries

Austin Dziwornu Ablo and William Otchere-Darko

55. The Unintended Industrial Policy Benefits of the Covid-19 Pandemic in Africa

Julius Kiiza


View More



Gedion Onyango is a University Lecturer of Public Policy and Administration at the Department of Political Science and Public Administration, University of Nairobi, Kenya.


"This Handbook is very timely as Africa exerts agency in response to Covid19, global warming, the digital economy etc. It brings together both the old and the new generation of scholars in Africa writing on governance for sustainable development in 2025 and beyond. It treats emerging issues for a public policy like migration, urbanisation, pollution etc. This volume captures contemporary debates and directions and points towards innovative challenges and responses, including the continent's burgeoning diaspora. It comes in handy for Development Cooperation professionals, students, and university teachers interested in developing contexts like Africa."

Timothy M. Shaw, PhD, Faculty Fellow, Department of Conflict Resolution, Human Security, and Global Governance; McCormack Graduate School, USA

"This is an extremely ambitious book dealing with the making and implementation of public policy in Africa over a long time in diverse countries, both in terms of historical heritage and contemporary political regimes. Gedion Onyango does a wonderful job in introducing the theoretical minefield of studying public policy in Africa as a single "problematique". At the same time, the different chapters seek to tell the stories of each nation's experience. As a "handbook", this publication will be a good resource for both students and teachers dealing with any aspect of public policy in Africa. Scholars researching issues of governance in Africa are likely to include this book in their reference menu."

P. Anyang' Nyong'o, Professor of Political Science, and The Governor, County Government of Kisumu, Kenya

"Why has social and economic development in Africa been so sporadic and uneven? This volume offers insights in terms of the (mis)governance of public affairs. As a first comprehensive review of the state of the art in public policy studies in Africa, it fills a yawning gap in the research literature. Gedion Onyango has drawn together a powerful team of scholars from within and beyond the continent to make the case that the future well-being of Africa’s people depends in good part on systems of responsive, collaborative, evidence-based decision-making by policy actors inside and outside the state." 

Michael Bratton, University Distinguished Professor Emeritus, Michigan State University, USA 

"This volume assembles a multi-disciplinary team of scholars, practitioners, researchers, and policy experts from leading universities and research organisations across Africa and beyond who analyse different public policy ideas and practicalities faced by African nations today. It provides some unconventional but comprehensive insights on the contextual trajectories and commonalities of public policy and governance in theory and practice across different sectors and states in Africa. Undoubtedly, it will serve as a critical resource in years to come for teaching and training on public administration and policy in Africa and similar contexts in the Global South." 

Kempe Ronald Hope, Sr., Development Practice International

"This volume is an exceptional contribution to our understanding of the evolution of African states. Its focus on public policy, both with the breadth of topics and depth of coverage, helps the reader understand the challenges and successes of the nuts and bolts of state building in Africa. It takes us from Aristide Zolberg’s metaphor of the state leader with multiple phones on his desk that were connected to virtually nothing, to see how those linkages to core state functions have been gradually built. One of its particular strengths is the comparative analysis among several states of key public policy issues and processes. Another is its focus on the research of African scholars. I recommend it most highly."

James S Wunsch, PhD, Professor Emeritus, Creighton University, USA

"Two key challenges have persisted in Africa; first, decision-makers have not understood and implemented sustainable policies at the intersection between politics and policy. Second, the teaching, research, and public policy writing in higher education institutions have been externally-focused, hence difficulties in applying public policy theories to African contexts. This Handbook bridges that lacuna. Many contributions are rich with theoretical and practical insights that provide new policy insights or augmenting existing knowledge bases. I highly recommend it as a stand-alone text for public policy courses and desk reference for African policymakers."

Kelechi A. Kalu, PhD., Professor, Department of Political Science, University Of California Riverside, USA